BMW Guggenheim Lab: Maazhi Maach(Our Fish) at Mahim Beach

BMW- Guggenheim Lab  is a mobile lab touring cities all over the world,getting people to think about their cities and how they can change them.The Mumbai team consists of Aisha Dasgupta,Hector Zamora,Neville Mars and Trupti Amritvar Vaitla and focussed on the issue of "Private in Public".Check out the theme song "Is Shahar"
Yesterday I visited the satellite centre at Mahim beach which had a fisherfolk special event called "Maazhi Maach" or 'My Fish'.The structure of the lab is specially designed by architect Atelier Bow Wow of Tokyo for Mumbai and is in the shape of a mandap or public stage.It is made of bamboo and looks seen above in the pictures taken by fellow blogger Sankarson Banerjee.

The programme was in Marathi and included a talk between the Koli people and a marine biologist Vinay Deshmukh of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.The Kolis spoke of their concern about pollution and urbanization and how it was affecting their livelihood.They mentioned that earlier their boats used to be full of catch but now things are difficult.
Kolis are the original inhabitants of the city.They spoke of various fishes they would catch and how the variety has dwindled.The women spoke of how tense they are when the men sail out in boats,not knowing whether they will return.

The marine biologist told them about the health benefits of fish and how valuable their work was for mankind.Fish after all is a great source of Omega 3 fat and protein! Mr Deshmukh talked of what the Kolis themselves could do for their community.Pomfret yield in the past year has dropped from 4.5 lakh tonnes to 3 lakh tonnes.Mr Deshmukh talked of fishing of baby pomfrets by some people as a cause.He suggested they form their own rules for the greater avoiding fishing in certain months so as to allow breeding.This has been successfully done by a group in Thane and resulted in improvement in the pomfret yield.He also spoke of the need for keeping jetties clean.He educated people on global warming and how mackerels and sardines that were earlier seen in Karnataka and now seen in Maharashtra as they have migrated north.This was one of the reasons why they saw different fishes now than the past.

Before and after the talk,Koli children danced in their traditional style.I remembered President Obama and his wife dancing to their vibrant music on their visit to Mumbai during Diwali.
Sunanda and Shanky suggested we sit on meditation chairs which were placed on the floor.They were oh so comfortable! They were also there at the Byculla Millworkers' Event.

After the dances,we dined....and how!! The finest Koli food was out there for us to taste! As Shanky pointed out,it was way better than anything we had tried before.Each gravy was delicious and different but had no particular name.

There were Rice Bhakris and rice.Three types of Prawn Curries,Javla,Ghol,Bombil,Crabs and Clams! It was a feast for the kings! Koli food is sweeter then Malvani and is onion based

Mind you,all the food was complimentary for all those who had come to the lab.

Architect Swathi Abhijit was instrumental in getting this event together.She along with Samir D'Monte set up the stage at each centre.I have seen her working tirelessly at Batliboy Compound food event as well.

Totally enjoyed my visit to the BMW-Guggenheim Lab at Mahim Beach and more so cos I bumped into my friends,the adorable couple Shanky and Sunanda,both fish lovers,down to earth,affectionate and adventurous

Here's to more such events that help us explore our city and bring its people closer!!


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